On Thursday, the six candidates running for Santa Barbara City College Board of Trustees spoke at an online forum for a special edition of Campus Conversations.
Competing for the Area 2 spot in Goleta are Robert K. Miller and Ronald J. Liechti.
Mr. Liechti, a nearly 30-year resident of the Santa Barbara community, said he would bring a sense of civic duty, servant leadership and an ability to engage on tough areas to the table for SBCC.
“I believe in public education,” he said in his candidate statement. “…I want to make sure public education is there for current and future generations in our beautiful city.”
The candidate oversees a $30 million budget for the city of Santa Barbara, manages taxpayer-funded budgets and has helped the city meet all fiduciary standards.
Up against Mr. Liechti is the incumbent Mr. Miller, who advocates for SBCC as a place that “aims to help every student succeed, especially students from disadvantaged, marginalized and underrepresented backgrounds, many of whom represent the first generation in their family to attend college.”
He has been elected as president of the board twice, and in his time he led the process to hire a new superintendent/president.
Mr. Miller has experience with a national law firm, the Peace Corps, U.S. Congress and he served as U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Refugee Affairs.
In the race to represent the Area 3 spot in Santa Barbara is Veronica Gallardo and Erin Guerena.
Ms. Gallardo has served the board for eight years, and said she’s running again because she remains committed to SBCC and its impact on the community.
“SBCC offers a critical link between early childhood education, high school dual enrollment, career and technical education, higher education and life-long learning,” she said in her candidate statement.
Running against her is Ms. Guerena, a lifelong Santa Barbara resident and a small business owner.
She supports free tuition for all local high school graduates, and wants to see increased enrollment.
“Owning a small business gives me the skills to understand budgeting, staffing and resource/time allocation,” she shared in her statement.
Ms. Guerena listed her top three priorities: keeping the SBCC community safe and prepared for COVID-19, guiding SBCC through economic uncertainty and budget shortfall and improving the campus climate and restoring trust in leadership.
Finally, for area 4 in Santa Barbara, Anna Everett and Celeste Barber are up against one another.
Ms. Everett has spent nearly 30 years in California’s system of higher education, from being a first-generation college student all the way to Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Academic Policy.
“I will bring my problem-solving experience and administrative background to help with College’s budget, and high-profile racist incidents that threaten the school’s critical mission of providing a quality education for all its diverse and underserved student populations,” she said in her candidate statement.
She added that she will also address SBCC’s budget deficit and “assist the Board of Trustees and Superintendent/President Goswami with addressing the school’s challenges and embarrassment of riches.”
Running against her is 20-year English Department teacher Ms. Barber.
Ms. Barber implemented the Great Books Curriculum for SBCC students, earning a nomination for the Hayward Award for Excellence in Education.
“Santa Barbara City College is now grappling with both the pandemic’s financial impact as well as lowered enrollment,” she said in her candidate statement. “The greatest challenge facing the Board of Trustees is the dire economic situation, while committing to the highest quality education within each of our many programs and for which the school is distinguished.”
To learn more about the candidates, visit https://www.sbcc.edu/boardoftrustees/trustee-elections.php.